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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Best Waldorf & Montessori Inspired Toy Shops on Etsy

Most parents searching for Waldorf or Montessori educational toys for their children naturally turn to popular and well known brands like Grimms and Grapat. What a lot of people forget is that there are plenty of talented artisans from all over the world creating high quality toys and resources on Etsy. I've spent hours researching on Etsy and have uncovered many hidden gems that I'm going to share with you in this post. If you want to skip the anxiety attack of restock nights, but still support family run small businesses, then Etsy is the place to go. 

the best etsy toy stores


I've compiled this list with what I consider to be some of the best Waldorf or Montessori inspired toy makers on Etsy. I've spent hours researching each store and finding products that are perfect for imaginary play and to use as educational resources. Whether you're after small world items, wooden toys, play silks, play mats or a pikler triangle, there's a store on this list that has what you want, or can take a custom order to create it for you.
Monday, August 24, 2020

DIY Tradie Hi Vis Fathers Day Card

Is your dad or granddad a tradie? I've got the perfect Father's Day card for them! You can make this hi vis tradie shirt card in any colour to match dad's work shirt! I'll show you how to make these hi vis tradie cards in just a few minutes using a few basic craft materials.

hi vis diy fathers day cards

Father's Day, like most holidays, has a habit of sneaking up on me each year. Does it creep up on you too? Instead of rushing around the shops trying to find the perfect Father's Day card at the last minute, the kids can have fun making their own unique hi vis shirt card for dad at home. It's a great craft activity for kids at daycare or school too. Whether dad {or granddad} wears an orange, yellow or even lime green shirt, you can change the cardstock to make this card exactly like dad's work shirt.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Learn & Grow vs Connetix: Which Magnetic Tile Brand is Best?

Are you wanting to add some awesome open ended magnetic tiles to your playroom or classroom, but you don't know which brand is best? Don't worry I've done the hard work for you and compared some of the leading magnetic tile brands so you can make an informed choice about which set is perfect for you. In this post I'll compare the size, strength, quality and value for money of Connetix and Learn & Grow magnetic tiles

connetix and learn and grow tiles side by side

Magnetic tiles are what I call a unicorn toy, because quite frankly they tick all of the boxes. They're a completely open ended resource, they can become anything your child imagines and there's no wrong way to play with them. You can stack them, create with them, count them, colour sort them and use them on multiple surfaces, along with many other play ideas

They're also a stem toy, so they help teach children science, technology, engineering and mathematical concepts through play. While playing children will be using their fine and gross motor skills, improving hand/eye co-ordination, hypothesising and problem solving as well as exploring many other developmental skills. And perhaps the best benefit of all, for those who have multiple children, is that they're great for children of all ages, toddlers, preschoolers and school kids all love getting creative with magnetic tiles.
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Best Picture Books to Read with Dad this Fathers Day.

Looking for the perfect Father's Day gift idea for dad? Something personal, with sentimental meaning, but that can be used over and over... I've found the perfect picture books to celebrate Father's Day 2020 with dad. Picture books are a great way to convey feelings and they can be read together with dad for years to come. Whether you're after heartfelt, hilarious or heroic stories, there's something on this list for every type of dad young or old.

dad reading a picture book with child for fathers day

When our first daughter was born I started the tradition of giving picture books to her dad for Fathers Day. I go with her to pick a new one each year. We usually try to pick books with characters that match her dad's personality or storylines that correlate with something that's happening in our lives at the time. We also include a little handwritten note to dad inside the cover. When she was really young I would write it for her, then as she got older she told me what to write and this year will be particularly exciting because she can write it herself. 

I love that it's a tradition she looks forward to each year and it also means we're building our own little library of dad related books. I can just imagine their dad in the future looking through the books after the girls have moved out, remembering reading together when they were little. If you want to start your own Fathers Day book tradition, or you just love books, these are our current top picks.
Friday, August 7, 2020

Turtle Life Cycle Small World Play Tray

This sea turtle small world is a great hands on way to teach turtle life cycles to young children and is also a fun sensory experience exploring the texture and feel of sand and water. It's a fun way to explore science either in the classroom, or at home.
turtle life cycle small world invitation to play in a tray

Some children learn best by reading information, however my children definitely learn best hands on through play, so I introduced the life cycle of a turtle using a small world play tray with animal figurines. I find my children definitely learn and absorb so much information by being able to touch and manipulate figurines while playing. They're also big sensory seekers so anything with a sensory element is a big win, which is why we love small world play so much!
Sunday, August 2, 2020

DIY Playdough Stamps

Making DIY resources is a great way to get creative and the perfect use for that recycling stash we all have put away for a rainy day.  In this post I'll give you step by step instructions to create cheap and easy to make DIY playdough stampers your kids will love. An added bonus is they only take a few minutes to make.

diy wooden playdough stamps

I must confess I probably spend far too much time browsing toy shops on Instagram and online, so I spend quite a few hours window shopping and admiring lots of gorgeous toys and resources. I love all the fancy wooden playdough stampers that are available like these ones from The Creative Toy Shop, Let Them Play and the amazing designs available at Etsy. While I'm a huge fan of wooden toys, sometimes we just don't have the extra cash to splash around on new purchases, so when I work out a way to make essentially the same thing for much cheaper, I'm totally going to give it a go. The great thing is the kids didn't even know the difference and were just as happy with the DIY version.